After claiming Indian territory in the Lipulekh-Kalapani area, Nepal PM KP Sharma Oli, on Monday, claimed that Lord Rama belongs to Nepal, not India. Nepalese media quoted Oli as saying that ‘real Ayodhya’ is in Nepal and ‘Lord Ram is Nepali, not Indian’. “We have been oppressed a bit culturally. Facts have encroached. We still believe that we gave Sita to Indian Prince Ram. But we gave to the prince from Ayodhya, not India. Ayodhya is a village a little west to Birgunj, not the Ayodhya created now (sic),” Oli said at an event at his official residence in Baluwatar.
Oli was addressing a program to mark the birth anniversary of Bhanubhakta Acharya. The stunning claim comes on the backdrop of an ongoing diplomatic tussle between Kathmandu and New Delhi over the newly published Nepal map which claims Indian territory as its own.
Bilateral ties between India-Nepal were stressed after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated an 80-km-long road connecting Lipulekh pass with Dharchula in Uttarakhand on May 8. Kathmandu reacted sharply to the development and claimed that the road was built on Nepalese land. Nepal also updated its political map which included Indian territories. India condemned the move and handed over a diplomatic note to Nepal over the map issue.
The ties worsened further when Oli blamed India for demands by his party colleagues who sought his resignation over multiple ‘failures’. During a rally, Oli alleged that the leaders of his Nepal Communist Party (NCP) who were making attempts to ‘topple his government’, were doing so at the behest of India. His remarks have invited severe criticism from senior leadership in that country. Former prime minister ‘Prachanda’, who was among leaders who demanded Oli’s resignation, said that Oli’s anti-India remarks were “neither politically correct nor diplomatically appropriate.”